Monsoon certainly brings cheer to many but it could turn nightmarish to some who have to endure damp walls and leaky roofs. Nemmani Sreedhar gives tips on repairing these seepages
For some, arrival of monsoon is a joyous occasion when the nature pours out the much needed elixir into the parched landscape. But for some others the season proves to be a nightmare as the roof of their homes start to leak.
It can be easily observed that many houses sport damp walls and some roofs even start leaking whenever it rains. And there are others who have to endure damp walls throughout the year due to the water seepage from bathrooms.
But, what causes the seepage of water into a solid structure like concrete? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that faulty construction practices are the main reasons for water seepages. But it does take some expertise to repair these seepages. Water leakage from bathrooms is the most common reason for wall dampness and it takes careful workmanship to avoid this leakage, construction material expert L.H. Rao says. Plumbers should be careful while laying the water and sewage pipelines, he says. “While laying the lines, a plumber should seal all joints properly. With plumbers using plastic tubes these days, they should pay extra attention to ensure the safety of these lines,” Dr. Rao explains. Pointing out the practice of constructing a low roof to accommodate a bathroom on the top floors, he says that such roofs usually result in water seepage.
“Extreme care should be taken while working with low roofs as it is very difficult to make them water proof. It is in fact safer to have a bathroom a step higher than the rest of the house,” he explains.
While constructing a bathroom on low roof, proper water absorbing material should be used to fill the hollow area. Care should also be taken to seal the plumbing lines and bathroom tiles with cement and water proof material, he says. Another area from where water seepage can happen is from roof, particularly from the edges. One should take immediate action when a roof starts either leaking or getting damp as there is a greater possibility of corrosion attacking the steel rods in the structure.
“Corrosion is like gangrene which spreads to the whole structure and hence care should be taken to stem the rot at the earliest,” he says.
But it is not enough to do a hasty plastering on the roof even if the mason promises otherwise, Dr. Rao says.
To stop the water leakage one should first lay a concrete binder, a concentrated cement mix, and then an extra layer of concrete should be laid using smaller rock pieces with less than 10 mm thickness.
After this a thorough chemical treatment should be given to the structure, he explains. “Masons usually bring cheaper variety of material to save money, but to extend the life of a building one should be careful to use waterproof material only from an established and trusted brand,” he says.
One of the main reasons for damp walls is the water seepage from the edges of the walls or in the areas where a brick wall joins concrete.